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New iPod touch hidden in firmware; Microsoft's pro-Vista videos

A simple reference in the beta of Apple's latest firmware could hint at a significant remake of the iPod touch. Also, Microsoft has posted the controversial "blind taste test" videos that promote an improved Vista, and a Wyoming county's schools will receive 3,000 MacBooks.

New iPod touch referenced in iPhone 2.1 firmware

Although the mention is short, a text string in the iPhone 2.1 beta firmware could have a significant impact on the iPod touch, according to a discovery made by iPhone Atlas.

While Apple has used "iPod 1,1" to describe the current iPod touch as the first OS X-based iPod and the only minor revision, multiple files now contain references to "iPod 2,1" — a number change which, for past Macs, has referenced a major revision instead of a minor tweak..

For contrast, the iPhone 3G is simply listed as "iPhone 1,2" despite its new features and indicates that the design underneath is largely identical.

The company has in recent years reserved either August or September to start updating its iPods and this year launched a back-to-school promotion that gave away free iPod touch players to students buying a Mac at the same time, triggering a shortage that has helped Apple keep its touchscreen iPod supply in check.

Microsoft kicks off Vista first-hand experience videos

Microsoft's promised campaign to restore Windows Vista's reputation has begun in earnest through a special promo website.

Now nicknamed the "Mojave Experiment," the promo campaign hosts videos of Windows XP owners who Microsoft says had a very negative perception of Vista but were shown the current version of the operating system under the fake "Mojave" name to gauge their reactions without media- and friend-made preconceptions in the way.

According to Microsoft, over 90 percent of these users came out with a complete changed, positive outlook on the operating system now that its initial kinks have purportedly been resolved a year and a half after its debut.

The company doesn't, however, say what customers were allowed to try during the test. While performance has been improved with recent patches, other complaints have centered around backwards compatibility with hardware and software.

Wyoming school district to get 3,000 MacBooks

One of Apple's larger, more recent educational deals for Macs will roll out in the least populated state in the US, says a local report by the Casper Star-Tribune.

Over 3,000 MacBooks are being distributed to K-12 schools in Natrona County. Casper's Kelly Walsh High School gets the lion's share with 1,400 of the notebooks, while the remaining number will be divided largely equally between older students at CY Middle School and Dean Morgan Junior High as well as younger ones at Ft. Caspar Academy, Manor Heights Elementary and Park. Teachers also receive their own units.

The schools plan to launch a one-to-one program where each of the older students has access to a personal system that will help them learn, including through Internet materials.

Natrona County's deal also gives the teachers some education: each of those at Kelly Walsh has gone through a one-week learning process to help those who might still be unfamiliar with how to use online information in a classroom, including keeping students honest with online assignments.